05/16/06 — Young Conquerors win state softball title

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Young Conquerors win state softball title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2006 2:19 PM

KERNERSVILLE -- Youth is served.

Fielding one of its youngest teams in school history, Faith Christian Academy accomplished the improbable this past weekend on the Kerwin Baptist softball diamond. The Conquerors emerged the N.C. Christian Association Class 2-A champions.

Veteran coach Jeff Stocks didn't have any expectations for this group of youngsters. Holly Dawson was the lone senior on a roster filled with underclassmen who had little experience. Plus, graduation left the pitching and catching positions open.

Faith Christian Lady Conquerors

Photo submitted

The Faith Christian Lady Conquerors celebrate their state championship. The Conquerors, who finished the year 14-2, tallied the eventual game-winning run in the fifth inning of the championship game against unbeaten Union Grove. Faith came out with a 2-1 victory in that contest.

"I knew hitting would be our problem and it was," said Stocks. "We didn't score a lot of runs, but defensively we were sound. That's what won it for us in the state tournament.

"We weren't expecting to do this well at all because of we're so young."

Faith Christian seized the N.C. Christian Schools Athletic Association Class 2-A Coastal Region championship and earned an automatic bid to the state playoffs. The Conquerors started their postseason run with an 8-1, quarterfinal-round victory over Woodland Baptist.

Stocks' team earned the program's third appearance in the final four.

The Conquerors eliminated Tri-City of Conover 8-3 in semifinal-round play. Sophomore catcher Renee Provencial batted 4-for-4, including a two-run double. Freshman third baseman Brooke Anderson and Dawson, who played shortstop, each provided three hits.

Right-hander Jennifer Christopher hurled a six-hitter and fanned two Tri-City batters in a complete-game effort.

Unbeaten Union Grove (16-0) awaited Faith Christian in the finals.

Tied at 0-0, Christopher smacked a lead-off double to start the second inning. She stole third and trotted home on Katie Best's sacrifice fly to right field.

The Conquerors, who finished the year 14-2, tallied the eventual game-winning run in the fifth inning. Katlyn Floars walked, and proceeded to steal second and third base. She scored on Alyssa Hill's infield groundout for the 2-1 finale.

Faith Christian managed three hits -- Christopher's double and singles by Provencial and Dawson -- in the title contest. Christopher, meanwhile, yielded two hits and walked two en route to her fourth playoff win on the mound.

Union Grove concluded the year 16-1.

"The second game was great," said Stocks. "They put a lot of balls in play and we just made the good play. The girls were a little nervous before the game, but they sure didn't show it on the field.

"There were no expectations. The girls just loved to play and enjoyed each game."

Stocks said Christopher, Provencial and Dawson each received all-state recognition. Anderson and Hill were all-NCCSA 2-A region picks.